Mike Bisaha, co-founder of Big Top Brewing Company, which is a GrowFL 2017 Florida Companies to Watch honoree, conceived the idea for the company while sharing some beers with his friends.
"We are your typical garage startup story," he said "It was four best friends sitting in a garage drinking beers saying there is no brewery in this town or even an hour away that was like what we wanted to do. One of our founders is a home brewer. We knew we could do it. We had the drive to do it and so we found a way to put it together. The initial spark was just sitting in a garage drinking beer looking at other bottles and thinking how cool it would be if one day we had our own."
Big Top Brewing is a production brewing co that offers several different styles of beer that are all-micro brewed in Sarasota. Big Top brews a full line, including seasonal beers like the peanut butter and jelly pale ale.
"Our Ringmaster just won a silver medal at the Great American Beer Festival, which is one of the most prestigious medals in the beer community that you can receive," Bisaha explained. "Our brewer had been brewing for 25 years before we launched Big Top. He'd been perfecting it for a long time and had built his social calendar around it. Brewing can be a hobby, but he became a real craftsman."
Bisaha is humbled that Big Top has been recognized by GrowFL and is quick to credit his entire team for the company's success.
It's a huge honor for us," he said. "It has definitely been a team effort that has pushed us to where we are. There is no one person who has done it. It validates all those struggles that you go through that leave you scratching your head questioning your direction. To be recognized by others as doing a good job is exciting.
Bisaha's advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is to expect problems every day.
"If it can go wrong it will go wrong," he said. "Don't let it bother you. You can be mad or you can fix the problem. If you get mad, you still have to fix the problem, but now you're mad. Keep a level head and move forward."